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Talvin releases album with Niladri

British Asian undergound sensation forms band with sitar player Niladri Kumar, releases album Together, to tour Europe this summer .

music Updated: Apr 05, 2011 13:45 IST
Sharin Bhatti

Talvin Singh is synonymous with two things - his superlative tablatronics and eclectic collaborations. The man responsible for the cult of British

Asian underground has played with the likes of Madonna, Massive Attack and Björk previously. Recently, Singh formed a band with contemporary classical musician, sitar player Niladri Kumar. The duo have been producing music and performing together for the past two years. This month, Kumar and Singh are putting ten tracks on an album, Together, which is due to release on April 18.

Like its moniker, explains Singh, Together highlights traditional Hindustani classical and its modern interpretation by the younger generation of artistes. “The way we listen to music has changed. Technology has changed musicians. Our tradition of Hindustani classical sangeet has evolved. We can now isolate and break down ragas and loop it around as samples. Niladri is a great artiste. He has redefined the sitar itself and we are making all these new types of sounds. Together is the new classical sound,” says Singh.

He was in the city last week to perform a live DJ set for the victims of the disastrous tsunami in Japan at the Japan Aid concert organised at South Mumbai’s Bombay Electric store. Singh describes how Indian artistes should be thankful for electricity. “People ask me what I feel about the electronic artistes in India and I say it’s a great thing that we now have a stable power supply,” he jokes. According to Singh, who spent his salad days growing up in the interiors of Punjab, experimenting with sounds from transistor sets, the fact that there are fewer power cuts now means that you can spend time “messing around with samples, understand sound waves and make music better.”

Singh, who now sports a handlebar moustache, will be touring Europe this summer with Kumar. The Mercury Prize winner, who was commemorated with the UK Asian Music Award last year for his commitment to the scene, will also perform at the Port Elliot Festival. Even though Singh pioneered tablatronics, he feels Together was born when he was pushed to search for new sounds. “I don’t like being typecast. I have been dabbling with Sufi and Punjabi poetry for a while. Together is a step in the new direction,” he adds.